Employers in all industries in California must inform their workers of all the potential health and safety risks they might encounter. While safety training could teach workers how to mitigate hazards that typically cause construction workers accidents, many may not be aware of the dangers posed by asbestos. Whenever they work on buildings that date back to the 1970s and earlier, construction workers are sure to be exposed to asbestos.
Asbestos could be present in shingles, roofing felt, floor tiles, insulation in boilers and pipes, cement, caulks and putty. The danger is in the particles that become airborne when asbestos is disturbed. Walking on tiles containing asbestos poses no threat, but as soon as they are filed, or holes are drilled into the tiles, fibers will be released into the air for unsuspecting workers to inhale.
The minuscule asbestos particles attach themselves to the lungs, causing progressive damage that could develop into a lung disease called asbestosis many years later. They could even create a type of cancer called mesothelioma after 10 to 40 years. Safety authorities warn that exposed workers who are smokers are at an increased risk of developing this deadly cancer.
Just like victims of construction workers accidents, those workers who develop mesothelioma or asbestosis are entitled to pursue financial relief through the California workers’ compensation insurance program. However, these diseases might be diagnosed many years after exposure and employment by the particular construction company that allowed the victim’s exposure to asbestos. These claims are best navigated by workers’ compensation attorneys who are experienced in fighting for the rights of injured workers.